After Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia on 20 May 2017, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East is once again witnessing the escalation of tensions that could further destabilise the safety and security of the region and have dangerous and destructive consequences for our country.
The threatening and belligerent words of the reactionary Defence Minister of Saudi Arabia that “we will work so that the battle is there in Iran” was promptly followed by the first bloody terrorist attack of Daesh in the capital city of our country. Rex Tillerson, the United States Secretary of State, also declared US support for “regime change” in Iran, in an intervening speech.
Among other indications of the escalation of tensions in the region are the recent attacks by US forces, for the third time, on the paramilitary forces backed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran operating in the eastern regions of Syria. Also, on 18 June, in retaliation for the Daesh terrorist attacks on Tehran – which Ali Khamenei had referred to as a “fire cracker”- the IRGS fired six mid-range missiles from Iran targeting Daesh forces around Deir-al-Zour in eastern Syria. Ramezan Sharif, the spokesperson of the IRGC, warned: “The international and regional supporters of the terrorists must heed the warning message of this missile assault.” Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s President, also in full support of the theocratic regime’s IRGC missile attack, said that the firing of the missiles was a “national decision [taken by] the National Security Council”. However, the IRGC command rejected Rouhani’s claim and stated instead that the operation was undertaken as per the decision of Khamenei, the Supreme Religious Leader.
The foreign policy of the United States during the Obama administration, with regards to Iran, had considered a special role and position for the Islamic Republic of Iran in the “New Middle East Plan” in which the coexistence and conciliation of Iran’s theocratic regime with US hegemony in the region – within the framework of JCPOA and with some relief of the financial sanctions of the US Treasury- was its main outcome. According to this formula, the US administration had drawn up specific weights and limits to define the fields of performance and the military and political influence of the Islamic Republic of Iran, through diplomacy within the framework of “multilateral confinement” among the regional powers. However, now evidence suggests that the Trump administration is pushing to impose new conditions and to make specific changes to this framework. In particular, this involves a lessening of the role and weight of Iran’s regime in the developments within the region in favour of Saudi Arabia. In this context, Tillerson’s recent references to “peaceful regime change” in Iran should be looked at from two angles regarding the new tactics of the US:
1. Reviving the failed project of “making alternatives” to act as the “regime’s opposition” by utilising some of the forces opposed to Iran’s theocratic regime and who are adamantly pro-US in policy, such as the monarchists and the Iranian People’s Mojahedin Organisation (MEK).
2. Implementing an aggressive diplomacy in order to enable political-security leverage in the region through fanning the tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, under the mantra of “fighting terrorism”, and making divisions amongst the countries of the region under the pretext of the confrontation between “Shia” and “Sunni”.
It should be noted that contrary to what Donald Trump repeatedly stated he would do in his election campaign, he has not yet scrapped the JCPOA and, likewise, has not yet actively and blatantly blocked the process of suspending the sanctions under the JCPOA. Clearly, the continuation of JCPOA is an important matter for the Islamic Republic of Iran and Trump knows that in negotiating with Iran, the JCPOA – parallel with the possibility of back-breaking economic pressures on our country – constitutes a powerful leverage for him. Despite the fact that, on the surface, the policies and discourse of the Trump administration are often unpredictable and chaotic, at their core, from day one, there has been a coherent trend towards the protection and continuance of dominance and autocracy both inside the borders of the US and out. The fact remains that the foreign policy of the United States under Donald Trump has been designed along the lines of the most reactionary policies of that state in the past four decades, and is supported by the most extreme circles of warmongering neoconservatives there.
As far as the Middle East region is concerned, it could certainly be stated that the aforementioned two new tactics in Trumps policies towards our country clearly indicate a continuation of the US’ imperialist policies and their meddling in the process of determining the future and destiny of our nation. These aggressive and destructive policies towards our country are being shaped by one of the most dangerous factions of the extreme right in the US regime. This coincides with the position of the theocratic regime of Iran which, in contrast to its missile firing and blustery rhetoric, has put our nation in the weakest international and economic situation.
Some of the state-affiliated reformist and transformed “left” forces claim that there is no longer such an issue as “US imperialist policies”. And, after Donald Trump took office, some came to the conclusion – amid his deceitful discourse – that the Trump presidency might present a “historical opportunity”. They promoted the idea that slogans like Trump’s “America first” show that he is not inclined toward, nor does he believe in, continuing domineering policies – and so we should take advantage of this opportunity in favour of Iran! Now, the objective evidence shows that such analyses indicate either a mere lack of political experience or, worse still, a dangerous mode of thought that denies the urgency of defending the national sovereignty against US bullying while deeming such a stance to be leftist and therefore obsolete! The safeguarding of US hegemony in the world, and particularly in the Middle East region, has always been the first priority for all US presidents.
The Tudeh Party of Iran has evaluated the election and coming to power of Donald Trump and his slogans and policies to be a very concerning series of events as far as world peace and the interests of the world’s nations are concerned. Our concern is not one predicated on the inexperience, narcissism or unpredictability of Trump. We believe that the bringing of Trump to the presidency was a calculated and purposeful move by the warmongers and extreme right-wingers to mobilise and gather together the reactionary and dangerous forces of the ultra-right around the world. The power structure in the Trump administration – just like the power pyramid structure of the Islamic theocratic regime of Iran – consists of dangerous elements who believe in the waging of war as a means to solving wider issues. The crises of the Iran’s regime are the results of its contradiction of the economic interests and the freedom-seeking demands of our nation. This is a contradiction which is ever expanding and thus naturally the theocratic regime veers from one crisis to another graver. Both Ali Khamenei and Donald Trump are deceitful leaders who would without hesitation lie to their people to stay in power. They would resort to any option so as to rebuff and overcome the various crises they face, from closed-door negotiations and deals on matters of public interest through to the increasing of tensions and waging of military conflicts, whether through proxy wars or direct clashes. Any one of these options that they might take are gravely dangerous and disastrous for our people, for our country, and for the region.
The Middle East region and our country have entered a very dangerous situation. Very destructive external factors are seriously threatening the peace, national sovereignty, and national economy of our country. Domestically, the harmonisation of the policies of the state-affiliated reformist with those of the Supreme Religious Leader – in supporting the recent missile firing of the IRGC and chanting empty slogans to manage the public opinion – indicate that if a situation develops which threatens national interests then the state-affiliated reformist will in no way resist the orders of the Supreme Leader and its suppression apparatus, i.e. the IRGC. Let’s not forget that just a few weeks ago – in order to heat up and shore up the election show for the purpose of the “continuance of the regime” – Hassan Rouhani fervently and with harsh words criticised the missile activities of the IRGC during the election campaigns, gatherings and statements. However, we now see that the government of Rouhani – again for the benefit of the moment or owing to political “expediency” – supported the firing of the missiles by the IRGC and the state-reformist media dedicated their front page to praise the Guards Corps of the theocratic dictatorship.
The Tudeh Party of Iran once again unequivocally emphasises that matters impacting the development in the region and countries which have special significance for the people of our country – due to national, ethnic, historic and neighbourly ties – can and indeed should be pursued seriously and effectively through peaceful and multilateral ways and means, within the framework of the Charter of the United Nations and other conventions, far removed from threats, insults and empty slogans.
The progressive and patriotic forces of our country should not let the interventionist policies and practices of the United States, concessions on the interests of the people made behind closed doors, or recourse to military conflicts and tensions – whether through proxy wars or direct military clashes – decide the destiny of our nation. The Tudeh Party of Iran calls upon the progressive and patriotic forces to engage in joint cooperation in defence of the peace in the Middle East and the national sovereignty of Iran.
The Tudeh Party of Iran
23 June 2017